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Tech Prep fills the gap between the growing demand for tech professionals and our current workforce readiness. 

We focus on inclusive services that provide a clear onramp for high-quality job creation. 

Tucson has struggled to keep up with the demand for programmers and technology professionals. To help ensure that these high-quality jobs can be filled by locals, we have created affordable workforce training, career readiness, and skills development to address these needs. 

Startup Tucson has developed Tech Prep Program in partnership with leading employers and technical experts to help fill this urgent need in the innovation ecosystem and to help increase the diversity of the tech industry in our city. 


Programming Courses

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A 14-week workshop that teaches the building blocks of programming in an innovative and creative approach that is well suited to folks without technical backgrounds.  

Career Support 

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Working with a committee of Tucson's major tech employers, Startup Tucson will provide career services to help land your dream job in tech.  

Women in Tech Fellowship

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A year long Fellowship program that includes a stipend, professional development funding, training, and peer-to-peer, and mentoring support. 

learn Programming 

Through a hands-on 14 week course you will learn not only how to program, but how to THINK like a programmer so that you can learn any coding language in the future.  This a missing piece that many "coding bootcamps" get all wrong. 

Co-created with leading technologist Gene Regan, the program adopts successful elements of “coding bootcamps” and combines these with critical adaptations to improve career success in the technology fields. Paired with our career services, this program can help set you on a path to securing a fantastic career as a programmer. 


Industry research indicates that by just learning a single coding language you may still struggle to "get your foot in the door" or thrive in a programming position.  This program takes a new approach of distilling the essential lessons of a Computer Science degree into manageable lessons. 

While this course is rigorous, you will be placed in a small, tight-knit cohort and guided each step of the way by one of the nation's leading technologists. 

 Instructor/Program Developer

Gene Ragan

Founder, CTO,

Senior Engineer

Specialties: Human computer interaction, interface design, iOS, Android, OSX, Data Science, Machine Learning, AWS, Azure, C/C++, Docker, Go/Golang, Objective-C, Java, Javascript, Kubernetes, Lua, Postgres, Python, SQL, Swift, 

Industry Experience: Amazon, Dreamworks Animation, Apple

Founder/Co-Founder: Semitone, Caring Labs, Ptch/DWA Investments, Mediapede

Gene Ragan came to programming as a trained artist, yet he rose to become a leader in the industry with senior positions in some of the most innovative tech companies in the world -- Apple, DreamWorks, Amazon among others.  He has also started a number of his own companies as Founder, CEO, and CTO.


Throughout his journey, he has been relentlessly committed to making the tech industry more diverse and inclusive, often hiring employees from coding bootcamps.  Through his experience overseeing and training hundreds of programmers over the years, he knows exactly what tech employers are looking for and what it takes to succeed in the industry. 

He developed this program in collaboration with a professor of computer science at Cornell University to ensure it is both practically applicable and academically rigorous. 

Picturing Programming 


What motivates you to want to learn to program?


For me, programming gives one the ability to create entire worlds, starting from an idea and using just imagination to bring that idea to life.


You are only limited by your own ability to learn, innovate, imagine and expand your skills.


The main focus of this course is the design process that leads from problem statements to well-organized solutions; it de-emphasizes the study of programming language details, algorithmic minutiae, and specific application domains.

Our Philosophy

We set out to address some problems that we-- as employers of coding academy graduates-- have observed in the way "coding bootcamps" approach preparing students for careers: 

  • Coding academies do not adequately prepare students for the workplace

  • For-profit models are not always in the best interest of the students

  • The technical interview required by most top employers is difficult to pass for these students since most have been designed to test the skills of computer science graduates and the whiteboard exercises require skills not taught in most "bootcamps"

In response, we have developed a totally new student-friendly approach that is designed to help complete novices succeed.  Our process is designed to introduce students to concepts much in the same way that trade schools gradually introduce students to the tools of the trade.  It important to learn how to use a screwdriver before being handed a jackhammer!

This course:

  • Teaches theory, fundamentals and process

  • Avoids buzzwords

  • Focus on concepts, not the weeds of Javascript, React, CSS, HTML, Angular

  • Proves you can successful without the full-depth of a classical CS education 

COURSE Details.

This course is 14 weeks.  In addition to 54 total hours of in-class time, you should plan on about 4 hours of homework a week to master the content and complete the assignments. 

Topics Include: 

  • Pictures and Functions 

  • Function Definition 

  • Animations

  • Numbers and Arithmetic 

  • String and Models 

  • Function Reuse

  • Booleans

  • Conditionals, Inventories, Outventories, 

  • Animations and Decisions

  • Positions, Colors, and Error Handling 

  • Structures 

  • Lists 

  • Numbers 

  • Recursion

 FREE Pilot cohort

In the fall of 2020, we will be running a small pilot cohort (up to six students).


In exchange for providing ongoing feedback that will help us improve the program, the Pilot Cohort will be provided a full scholarship of the program. 

You are an ideal candidate for the pilot program if: 

  • You are excited to learn programming from one of our nation's top technologist 

  • You are passionate about being a part of building this new program for our community and will be a thoughtful and active contributor to feedback sessions and discussions  

  • You can commit to missing no more than 1 lesson and completing all of the assigned work 

  • You have consistent access to a computer, strong wifi, and you are fairly technically savvy.  While this course does not require you to have prior programming experience, due to COVID this course will be conducted online so it is important that accessing the course will not be problematic for you. 

Pilot Program Schedule: 

  • 14 weeks, beginning September 2nd 

  • 3:30-5:30, Wednesdays and Fridays


Career Support 


Coming Spring 2021

After successfully completely our programming program you are eligible to participate in our career support services.  

This programs includes: 

  • One-to-one career planning and goal setting 

  • Portfolio and resume review 

  • Informational and practice interviews with senior members of leading technology firms. 

  • (Optional $50.00 add-on) Momentum Mentor Sprint